Document Numbers 601-625

4 August 1914
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(35842) No. 601.
Mr. Carnegie to Sir Edward Grey.
Lisbon, August 4, 1914.
D. 10:45 A.M.
Tel. (No. 30.)
R. 8:10 P.M.

Yesterday evening Prime Minister speaking in name of President of the Republic and of Government requested me to assure His Majesty's Government of Portugal's intention and desire to act in complete co-operation with Great Britain in whatever course latter may adopt.

Cf. No. 610.

(35846) No. 602.
Consul-General Sir C. Hertslet to Sir E. Grey.
Antwerp, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:4 P.M.
Tel. (No. 24.)
R. 3:10 P.M.

My telegram No. 19 of yesterday.(1)

State of siege at Antwerp raised last night but reinforced this morning.

All ships refused permission to leave port, but I have procured authority for departure of "Montrose" and other British vessels.

(1) No. 524.

(35837) No. 603.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:1 P.M.
Tel. (No. 19.)
R. 8:12 P.M.

Special Session of Chambers opened this morning by the King in person who delivered patriotic speech. His Majesty and the Queen were given a great ovation. Prime Minister read correspondence with German Minister upon which he said no comment was required. Immense enthusiasm prevailed.

(35848) No. 604.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey.
The Hague, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 32.)
R. 8:30 P.M.

"Chef de Cabinet" at Ministry for Foreign Affairs told me this morning that German Government had not presented an ultimatum respecting neutrality to Netherlands Government, as reported in yesterday's papers. If they do, Netherlands Government will give same reply as Belgian Government have given.

Minister for Foreign Affairs is very hopeful that neutrality of the Netherlands will not be violated by any Power, but all precautions are being taken.

(35857) No. 605.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 9:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 478.)
R. August 4, 3:30 P.M.

Grand Vizier to-day renewed assurances that Turkey intends to observe strict neutrality. Mobilisation had been decided upon only because it would take months to complete and because the Government wished not to be taken by surprise in case of aggression by Bulgaria, though they had also been alarmed by rumours of action by Russia attributable, I think, to German Ambassador. Retention of German military mission meant nothing and had no political significance. He regarded them as Turkish employés who were doing good work, and, as they had offered to remain, it would have been ungracious to refuse.

(Repeated to Sophia.)

Cf. Nos. 586 and 598.

[NOTE. An alliance between Turkey and Germany was signed on August 2 by which Turkey undertook to support Germany in the case of a war between Germany and Russia. See DD Nos. 72, 733.]

(35800) No. 606.
Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Carnegie (Lisbon).
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No 42.)
D. 3:30 P.M.

We learn that steamship "Admiral" lying at Delagoa Bay, is apparently acting as wireless coast station for transmission of wireless messages of German Government. Inform Portuguese Government most confidentially, and suggest that immediate instructions be sent to prevent such a possibility at the present critical moment. The proper course, which is being followed both here and in other countries at this moment, is to prevent any wireless apparatus in territorial waters being used except under Government control, and to compel all foreign vessels to dismantle their wireless apparatus.

(35856) No. 607.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, August 4, 1914.
D. 2:30 P.M.
R. 3:35 P.M.

This telegram communicates text of telegrams exchanged between German Emperor and Emperor of Russia published in White Book at Berlin. For text of these telegrams see CDD, pp. 481, &c.

(35744) No. 608.
Communication from German Embassy, August 4, 1914.
Foreign Office.

Herr v. Wesendonk of the German Embassy called to say that the Ambassador had received a further telegram from his Government (dated 2:30 P.M. saying that it is absolutely untrue that a single German soldier had crossed the French frontier.

H. M.


M. de Fleuriau repeated to me an hour ago that they have actually shot a number of German officers who were over the frontier. E. A. C. August 3, 1914.

(35870) No. 609.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:3 P.M.
Tel. (No. 18.) En clair.
R. 3:55 P.M.

With reference to your telegram No. 310 of yesterday,(1) military attaché reports French War Office inform him that: Firstly, it has no information of any French patrol having crossed the frontier even a few yards. It would appear impossible by reason of the strict orders issued. Secondly, it is correct that a military aviator lost his way on 3rd August in Alsace. He landed by mistake in the suburbs of Mulhaus, and left again, arriving at Belfort without harm. Thirdly, no person, male or female, has received instructions to blow up the tunnel of Cochem or any other tunnel. It is unaware of any attempt of this nature. Fourthly, it has not received any information reporting crossing of the Alsatian frontier by French infantry.

(1) No. 540.

(35864) No. 610.
Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Carnegie.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 43.)
D. 4:10 P.M.

My telegram No. 41 of to-day. (1)

Inform Minister for Foreign Affairs that in case of attack by Germany on any Portuguese possession, His Majesty's Government will consider themselves bound by the stipulations of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.

For the present His Majesty's Government would be satisfied if the Portuguese Government refrained from proclaiming neutrality.

In the event of His Majesty's Government hereafter considering it necessary to make any demand upon the Portuguese Government which would not be compatible with the latter's neutrality, they would appeal to the alliance as justification for such demand.

(1) No. 590. Cf. also Nos. 565 and 601.

(35872) No. 611.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 4, 1914.
D. l P.M.
Tel (No. 22.)
R. 4:20 P.M.

Military attaché has been informed at War Office that German troops, have now undoubtedly entered Belgian territory, and that Liège has been summoned to surrender by small party of Germans, who, however, were repulsed. War Office states that mobilisation has taken place without a hitch, and that army is at this moment concentrated as intended. Dutch Limburg has not been occupied by Germans. French military attaché has been informed that German troops are now concentrating at Aix-la-Chapelle.

Published in BB No. 158 (last three sentences omitted).

(35907) No. 612.
German Foreign Office to German Ambassador, London.
D. August 4, 4:38 P.M.
R. in London at 4:17 P.M.
Tel. (No. 1545.)
Sent out for delivery at 4:25 P.M.

Declaration Bethmann Reichstag to-day. We are in self-defence and needs must. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and perhaps have already entered Belgian territory. This is an infraction to International Law. Though the French Government have declared in Brussels to be willing to respect Belgium's neutrality as long as the adversary would respect it, we knew that France was ready for invasion. France was able to wait, we were not. A French aggression into our flank on the lower Rhine would have been disastrous. We were therefore compelled to overrule the legitimate protest of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. We shall repair the wrong which we are doing, as soon as our military aims have been reached. Anybody threatened as we are and fighting for his most sacred goods must on think of pulling through. As to the attitude of England, the statement made by Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons has clearly laid down the point of view taken by the British Government that as long as England will keep neutral our fleet would not attack the Northern Coast of France and that we would not touch the territorial integrity and the independence of Belgium. I herewith repeat this declaration publicly before the whole world and I may add that as long as England keeps neutral we would be willing in case of reciprocity not to undertake any hostile operations against the French commercial navigation.


[NOTE. This telegram was communicated to the Foreign Office by the Censor. It as sent en clair and in English, obviously with the intention that it should be intercepted (DD No. 829). Punctuation as in the original.]

(35863) No. 613.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:15.
Tel. (No. 135.)
R. 4:30.

In answer to your telegram No. 309 of August 3rd(1) Military Attaché reports that French War Office states that bodies of two Germans, one an officer and the other either an officer or under-officer are on French soil and the French authorities are in possession of their clothes and identification papers.

(1) No. 529.

(35876) No. 614.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 132.)
R. 5 P.M.

Following from Military Attaché:

"French War Office information: German dispositions: general situation much the same.

"Duchy of Luxemburg: Greater portion of 8th corps with advance parties of 16th division on the French border; also probably one division of cavalry of which 7th Uhlans and 7th Chevaux Legers form part between Luxemburg and Longwy.

"Lorraine; movements of the 21st corps signalled near Chateau Salins and of the 18th corps towards Sarrebourg.

"Vosges to the Swiss frontier: Situation unchanged. French dispositions: troops on the frontier no change; other troops in France in their garrisons and expect to move forward about August 6th.

"It is hoped to bring from Algeria a force of about 20,000; at present it is not deemed advisable to commence transportation across Mediterranean owing to presence of German warships; probable time for transportation 12 days; probable destination neighbourhood of Belfort.

"Secrecy essential as regards all movements and position of French troops which are for information of British War Office."

(35910) No. 615.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 271.)
D. 5 P.M.

Please acknowledge as soon as possible receipt of my telegram Nos. 266 and 270 of 4th August.(1)

We will let you know without loss of time whether any reply, satisfactory or otherwise, has been received here by midnight. United States Government cordially agree to take charge of embassy.

(1) Nos. 573 and 594.

(35873) No. 616.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 134.) Secret.
R. 5 P.M.

Naval Attaché reports following information from Minister of Marine:

"French fleet have been given orders to bring 'Goeben' to action if possible. 'Goeben' is at present off Algerian coast."

(35847) No. 617
Sir Edward Grey to Sir Arthur Hardinge.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 49.) Urgent.
D. 5 20 P.M.

A German cable ship is lying at Vigo for the purpose of cutting the cables entering that port on the outbreak of hostilities.

On receipt of notification that war has broken out you should at once inform the Spanish Government asking that urgent instructions may be sent to Vigo to prevent that port being used as a base for any hostile action against British interests.

(35877) No. 618.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir M. de Bunsen.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 207.)
D. 5:30 P.M.

We shall presumably be at war with Germany to-morrow, as the latter has violated and will apparently not engage to respect the Belgian Treaty.

But I understand Austria not at present to be at war with Russia or with France, and I do not therefore contemplate instructing you to ask for your passports or to address any communication to the Austrian Government. I have said this to Austrian Ambassador, but have added that we should of course expect Austrian Government not to commit any act of war against us without first making some communication to us in accord with diplomatic usage.

(35879) No. 619.
Consul Pratt to Sir Edward Grey.
Tsinanfu, August 4, 1914.
R. August 4, 6:20 P.M.

Situation in Tsingtau.

August 1st martial law was proclaimed all stocks of oil seized. Two steamers forbidden to carry cattle to Vladivostok. Attempt made to seize treasure of Russo-Chinese Bank, but it had already been transferred to Deutsch-Asiatische Bank. British Vice-Consul was notified all British subjects must be prepared to leave when ordered, but ample time and facilities will be provided; panic ensued amongst Chinese who are flying in large numbers, but British subjects remain calm.

August 2nd Army aeroplane fell seriously injuring pilot leaving one effective aeroplane and pilot. Four German merchant vessels are detained.

Since August 1st only en clair telegrams can be sent or received by British Vice-Consulate.

Telegraphed Foreign Office en clair asking whether his instructions were modified. This was passed by Governor but not yet has any answer been received.

I have telegraphed above to Peking.

(35721) No. 620.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir R. Rodd.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 253.)
D. 6:30 P.M.

Your telegram No. 160 of August 3.(1)

I have expressed cordial appreciation to Italian Ambassador.

(1) No. 579.

(35883) No. 621.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 4, 1914.
D. 4:26 P.M.
Tel (No 23.)
R. 6:30 P.M.

French Military Attaché states that German troops have appeared this morning at Marieange, Martelange, Bastogne and along Liège, Stavelot Luxemburg railway.

German dispositions appear to be: On extreme right seventh Army Corps debouching from Aix, next 16th then 4th and an army corps number unknown (possibly 12th) on extreme left. Saxon Cavalry accompanies cavalry of 7th corps and 8th Cuirassiers.

Russian military attaché states that Germans have entered Belgium from Eupen and Aix and at Stavelot.

(35881) No. 622.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, August 4, 1914.
D. 1:5 P.M.
Tel. (No. 164.)
R. 6:50 P.M.

Greek Government are sending ships of war to Brindisi to fetch German Minister at Athens who is bearer of an autograph letter from Emperor to King of Greece.

(35885) No. 623.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 4, 1914.
D. 3:35 P.M.
Tel. (136.)
R. 7:2 P.M.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs informs me that German ship has bombarded Philippeville and Bône.

(35887) No. 624.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey
Paris, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 138.) Confidential.
D. 3:25 P.M.

Minister for Foreign Affairs informs me that Belgian Minister has communicated to him a telegram from his Government to the effect that German soldiers have crossed the Belgian frontier at Gemmenich in the region of Verviers.

(35884) No. 625.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 4, 1914.
D. 6:50.
Tel. (No. 25.)
R. 7:10.

Your telegram No. 15 of 4th August.(1)

Action already taken upon your telegram No. 14.(2)

I have informed Belgian Government that my communication is cancelled pending further instructions.

(1) No. 593.
(2) No. 580.